Flash Fiction: Heavy Blanket (361 words)

“You’re not sleeping,” Javie said, gently. It was so simple a statement, she seemed to be delivering news, as if she weren’t sure if Artair were aware.

But sitting up, still in his boots and heavy breeches, jacket buttoned tight as he leaned a shoulder against the porch column, he wasn’t sure how he couldn’t know that this was waking. His eyes weren’t even a little heavy. The edges of his thoughts were still sharp enough, straight enough to catch glimpses of the dark between them. He had his fingers wrapped around the cloth of his sleeve, but they itched for production.

He smiled at Javie as she slipped out the front door. The inside of the house was just a shadow behind her. She blinked as if the moonlight was too bright for her, and moved carefully to keep the blanket from slipping off her shoulders. It was too cold for her night-shirt and her bare legs. Her dark hair had been roughed up by her pillow.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I meant to come inside…”

But he still wasn’t moving, but she was slipping down beside him on the step, flicking the blanket over her knees. She flashed him a smile too. Sleepy as she was, it looked like an easy thing.

“Yeah?” she said. And she raised her eyebrow to dare him to say it again.

Looking down, he laughed at him. “Yeah,” he said.

“But…”

Artair shook his head. “Just… too full.” He tapped his temple. Or he meant to, but his fingers stuck and he rubbed a slow circle into his hairline as if he could soothe the thoughts under his skin.

She leaned her head against his shoulder. “Makes sense,” she murmured. Shivering, she tucked herself closer against him. Her eyes were closed in half a moment.

“Sense?” he said. He glanced at her, at her quickly relaxing features, and wrapped an arm around her to catch her weight as she rested against him. It was too cold for her bare feet, too cold to pull herself off a plush mattress even if she brought the heavy blanket with her. “You’re one to talk.”

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